The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Falls

    12
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Beaten

    3
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Robbed

    13
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Burns

    4
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Malaria

    5
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Robbed

    5
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Groped

    9
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Giardia

    8
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1